Kickstarter has always been a bit of a fascination to me. The things that people can do with it are amazing, like the guy who thought up period panties. Yes, that is a thing. With seven days still left to go, more than $300,000 has been pledged. Even though I find that concept to be fascinating, it still wasn’t enough to earn my pledge.
Then, on Friday, I discovered Koe（声）, a JRPG-type game that teaches players Japanese. Everything about this impresses me. The creator specifically mentions Final Fantasy and Pokemon as similar games to the one he envisions. This difference is that all your moves are comprised of Japanese Hiragana, Katakana and Kanji. A player improves their skill in the game by ‘leveling up’ each Japanese character.
Yeah, this game needs to exist.
I encourage you all to check out the Koe Kickstarter page and would be thrilled if you could pledge to the cause. Already impressed with the game as is, I decided to donate £80 which is about $133 USD. This game has to happen.
Three people are involved in this game right now. Jitesh Rawal is a student at the University of Derby studying Computer Games Programming. Sayuki is a native Japanese speaker, responsible for all the words and phrases in the game. Dan Tsukasa is a 3D artist with experience in the film industry.
It probably goes without saying that I have high hopes for this game. I’ve tried games before, like My Japanese Coach for the Nintendo DS, to learn Japanese, but nothing sticks. Now, if I could play Final Fantasy and learn a language through communication with characters in the game, I feel like I would stand a real good chance at becoming fluent.
There are big dreams at stake here. I’ve always thought the original translation of anything is better than a translated product. Tiny things can get lost in translation. If I could read and speak Japanese well, I would start buying JRPGs and manga in Japanese.
Please go support this kickstarter and make this game a reality. I see these people going far with their idea. Imagine if they are a success. Couldn’t the same methods be used to help people learn other languages? I’m not sure if the makers of Koe see the franchise potential of their idea, but I do.
What languages would you like to learn? Do you think a game like this would be effective at teaching a language? Do you speak more than one language? What works for you when it comes to learning a new language?